Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cats

The Charlotte Bobcats had been in victorious in both of their two previous meetings with the Washington Wizards this season. On Saturday night, the Cats made their final trip to the Verizon Center for the season, where they would take on a much improved Washington team from the one they beaten twice in November.

John Wall was absent in both of Charlotte's wins over the Wizards. After starting the season 5-28, Washington had gone a respectable 14-13 since Wall's return to the lineup.

With the exception of majority owner Michael Jordan, the Bobcats have very little star power. Their most well-known player may be former UCONN standout Kemba Walker. North Carolina is also much more synonymous with college basketball, than with NBA ball, although I did notice one fan in  a throwback Charlotte Hornets hat. Needless to say, the Hornets were a much better representation of the state's professional basketball legacy.  

Bobcats forward Bismack Biyombo, a native of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, has averaged 4.4 points and 7 rebounds in his second season in the NBA.
Bobcats rookie forward Jeffery Taylor shoots around before the game
Taylor, a native of Norrkoping, Sweden, has averaged 6.3 ppg in his rookie season.
Former Kentucky Wildcat, and Charlotte Bobcats rookie forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
'MKG', who has an unorthodox release on his shot, has averaged 9 ppg in his first season in the league.
Charlotte is hoping Jeffery Taylor can someday become a solid perimeter defender.
Now in his 7th year in the NBA, Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas has averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds over 18 games in his 2012-13 campaign in Charlotte.
It was very easy to go wherever I wanted to as a photographer tonight, because most ushers were completely oblivious to the opponent. When the Cats are in town, it almost feels like an exhibition, or an NBDL game, and most people in the arena know about as much about players from Charlotte as they do about players from the Iowa Energy, the Wizards D-League affiliate.

The highlight of the evening was getting the chance to visit one of the corporate suites, where I photographed a couple of young gentleman enjoying the action in their private box. Suites in the Verizon Center aren't much to write home about. They come with a bar table, a fridge, a sink, and most importantly, their own bathroom. I'm convinced that the thousands of dollars it took to acquire this corporate hangout spot were well worth it, simply because of the luxury of having a private porcelain throne, which is an absolute necessity if one plans on spending an extended period of time in the restroom at an NBA game.

Aside from my visit to luxury box, the evening went by slowly, and I didn't even get a chance to spot Michael Jordan, who I suspected may have been in the arena somewhere.

Wizards point guard John Wall takes on a pack of Bobcats
Wizards forward Trevor Ariza takes a fade-away jumper over Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson
Bobcats forward Jeff Adrien boxes out Wizards forward Trevor Booker
Wizards forward Jan Vesely runs into Bobcats forward Jeff Adrien on his way towards the basket
The game was a total blowout. Washington took care of business, pounding the Cats 104-87. Trevor Ariza had a big night, leading the Wizards with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Martell Webster added 20.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 29 points and 6 assists. Gerald Henderson contributed 17 in what was the Bobcats' tenth straight loss. The two teams will meet once more in Charlotte on March 18th.